Ponderosa has been a dominant wrestling team in the south metro area and it seems like nothing will change this season.
The Mustangs have won 24 of the past 26 Continental League dual meet titles and have captured 10 Colorado state wrestling championships, with the last one coming in 2010.
Ponderosa gets the nod from most coaches as the best team in the southern section of the metro area for the seven-week boys season, which starts with practices on Jan. 18. Competition, under the new COVID-19 variances, can begin Jan. 25.
The Colorado High School Activities Association staff held a series of webinars on Jan. 3-5 for school administrators and coaches to provide specifics on Season B sports, which include boys and girls wrestling. All Season B sports will have informational sessions for athletic directors and coaches.
However, there will be no wrestling for Boulder County teams this season. On Jan. 6, Boulder County Heath announced that it will not allow wrestlers to compete in the St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley school districts.
If other school districts choose to follow the Boulder option, there is the possibility that wrestling could be moved to Season C or D later in the year.
The CHSAA on Jan. 7 released wrestling modifications after the webinars.
There will be a maximum of 20 dual meets during the season. There can be a maximum of eight teams at regular season tournaments. In the regional tournaments, a two-day, 16-wrestler bracket will be employed. The first seven weight classes will compete on the first day and the next seven weight classes will wrestle on the second day. First and second place finishers will qualify for the state tournament.
At the state tournament, an eight-wrestler bracket will be used with full consolation in a one-day format. Team scores at both the regionals and state will score places 1-4.
All wrestlers must wear masks up until they put on ankle bands before a match. Referees can not touch wrestlers this season. Referees will raise their hand separately with the winner.
A total of 25 wrestlers per gym at one time, will be allowed. That will probably force boys wrestling, with 14 weight classes, to control the entry of wrestlers to keep numbers at proper levels. Girls wrestling has just 10 weight classes, so full teams can be present.
If Season B does begin as planned, Pomona and Ponderosa will stand out.
Pomona, which has won four of the past five Class 5A state championships, is the team to beat once the state tournament rolls around. The Panthers return all but one wrestler off last season’s title team, but Ponderosa has enough talent in its ranks to contend at the state tournament, which is now scheduled for March 12-13.
“Ponderosa is stacked,” said Chaparral coach Andy Sistek.
The Mustangs have nine wrestlers scheduled to return who were state qualifiers last year. And transfers Randy Meyers and Jett Strickenberger, who were both Colorado state qualifiers in 2019 plus freshman Jacob Meyers, Randy’s younger brother, add strength to the Ponderosa team.
Tim Yount, one of the state’s top high school wrestling prognosticators and publisher of Colorado’s On The Mat rankings, agrees that Pomona and Ponderosa appear to be the favorite teams.
“Pomona easily will be our number one team,” said Yount. “Ponderosa is our number two and there is a large spread from third. They will both be very tough to beat.”
Other south metro teams to watch include Douglas County with five returning state qualifiers back from the 2020 season plus Cherry Creek and ThunderRidge with three each.
Here are returning boys wrestlers who qualified for the 2020 state wrestling tournament.
Derek Glenn (Cherokee Trail), Nick Vicic (ThunderRidge), Chandler Roberts (Ponderosa), Kyler Pilgrim (ThunderRidge), Jacob Bostelman (Ponderosa), Justin Kelchen (Douglas County), Murphy Menke (Ponderosa), Carsen Trujillo (Arapahoe), Max Black (Douglas County), Sean Arnett (Grandview), Jaron Mahler (Ponderosa), Victor Madrid (Douglas County), Presley Pilgrim (ThunderRidge), Aidan Lenz (Ponderosa), Ivan Morris (Douglas County), Austin Luhring (Cherry Creek), Eli Hamilton (Valor Christian), Traevin Osborn, (Ponderosa), Sonny Quintana (Grandview), Karter Johnson (Ponderosa), Ian Sepan (Castle View), Hunter Gray-White (Cherry Creek), Matthew Soderborg (Cherry Creek), TJ LaFrancis (Arapahoe), Corbin Zimmer (Castle View), Blaine Kubasta (Ponderosa), Geoffrey Freeman (Chaparral), Kyle Hanson (Highlands Ranch), Levi Smith (Legend), Kaiden Parrish (Valor Christian), Luke Sandy (Legend), Kyle Maccagnan (Eaglecrest), Antonio Segura (Regis Jesuit), Tyler Doyle (ThunderRidge), Ryan Aguiar (Douglas County) , Jonah Robadue (Chaparral) and Sam Hart (Cherokee Trail).
This will be the first season for a sanctioned girls state wrestling tournament.
USA Wrestling has a list of the top girl wrestlers for the 2021 season and there are 11 Colorado girls ranked. One of those ranked girls is Emma Burk of Douglas County.
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